Sophie Baillie, PR and Marketing Director

  • Celebrating teachers and schools in midst of COVID-19
  • The world of virtual learning
  • A sense of normality for students

Words such as unprecedented, disruption and, at times, chaos have never rung so true. We are now over six months into COVID-19 taking over our lives and what a half a year it has been. There are so many people that we should be thankful for in the UK who have been keeping the country going – from our local communities keeping up morale, to the NHS and all the front-line workers. However, this month celebrates World Teachers’ Day, which led me to think that we need to be thankful and celebrating teachers and schools too.

World Teachers’ Day is a UNESCO initiative and has been held annually for the last 16 years. It acts as an annual reminder for the critical role that teachers play in achieving an inclusive, quality education for all. Teachers always deserve to be celebrated for the wonderful work that they do, but this year it is even more poignant.

In March, schools across the UK were thrown in at the deep end. They not only had to get to grips with the world of virtual learning, adjust lesson plans and such, but they also needed to act as a beacon of light for children and young people across the UK; for some, school was the only sense of normality left in their lives.

Through our work with schools across the country it has been truly inspiring to see how they have been able to adapt, not let their students fall behind with their learning and, most importantly, keep up that school community spirit – all behind computer screens! I have been particularly impressed by schools that have international cohorts and, so, were adapting to remote learning from all around the world. Speaking to the Vice Principal at one of the schools that we work with, she described it eloquently: “while they were physically isolated, students were learning independently, but not alone, and that is what makes the difference”. That phrase “learning independently, but not alone” resonated with me, especially as our team was also working remotely, but we certainly weren’t alone with the addition of our morning coffee check-ins and our afternoon tea time quizzes!

Since re-opening in September, schools have been tasked with the added responsibility of heightened safety measures and social distancing restrictions. Implementing year group bubbles and staggered break and lunch times, all while trying to give a sense of normality back to students.

They have also had to quickly adapt their open evening and admissions processes to meet local government guidelines/restrictions, so you will now see the majority of open evenings taking place virtually – and, while it looks like this could be the “new norm”, it has been brilliant to see how creative schools can be.

Looking back to lockdown, when we spent every Thursday at 8pm standing on our doorsteps, cheering and clapping for the NHS and front-line workers, I think we should all take a moment now to celebrate our school heroes, who have been keeping the next generation of future leaders going.

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